U.S. business news: Tax plan, social networks and chip makers

U.S. corporations did not do much to soothe investors’ concerns about their earnings prospects over the weekend, largely on concerns about the Trump administration’s policies. President Trump’s response to an incident in Charlottesville, Va.,…

U.S. business news: Tax plan, social networks and chip makers

U.S. corporations did not do much to soothe investors’ concerns about their earnings prospects over the weekend, largely on concerns about the Trump administration’s policies. President Trump’s response to an incident in Charlottesville, Va., this month — attacks on both the media and immigration of people of Middle Eastern descent — have scared some investors into fear, a phenomenon known as a “flight to safety.”

News that the Trump administration will unveil its new tax plan this week not only intensified some of those fears, but also reignited investor worries about how changing tax laws could affect corporate earnings.

Here is a look at some other business stories of the week:

Tech stocks rallied on Monday, up as much as 4 percent, after Facebook added “instant video” capabilities to its Messenger platform, allowing users to upload and share short videos, much like Twitter. The move had led to a temporary run-up in the social network’s share price, then it settled to trade at around $140 (a gain of roughly 2 percent), which was a slight over market expectations, in response to a slight decline in users overall, as the company reported its quarterly earnings, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Chip maker Nvidia said its revenue in the third quarter more than doubled over the same period a year ago, driven by surging demand for graphics processing units, a subset of chips used in computers. It also reported a massive year-over-year rise in profits, which it attributed largely to faster sales for the chips used for self-driving car programs, The New York Times reported.

Union Pacific said that transportation conditions have improved, leading to stronger earnings for the railroad’s second quarter, The New York Times reported.

S-3 futures — which are indicating that Monday’s broad U.S. stock market index could drop the most in three weeks — fell on Friday, following a report by Reuters that U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller has contacted top aides of President Trump, asking them to preserve all communications they had with him about investigating possible links between Russia and Trump’s campaign team. The report cited two people briefed on the investigation.

Other top stories of the week:

Forbes’ Top 100, designed to showcase the wealthiest people in the world, dropped at the end of August, owing to a criminal complaint that accused the magazine of fraudulently inflating its list of the richest people by including stock in companies that had suspended trading in response to government investigations. Bloomberg estimates that the magazine was bilking its readers out of tens of millions of dollars. The magazine is now claiming that its claims to the top of the list were always legally defensible, but Forbes is facing a lawsuit by John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard Group and the wealthiest man in the world.

Snap, the owner of the popular messaging app Snapchat, reported that its daily active users dropped by nearly 10 percent in the third quarter, breaking a series of quarterly gains. The company has faced criticism for slowing down Snapchat’s innovation pace, according to Bloomberg, with the slowdown also helping make its stock price more volatile.

A global agreement to end “chemical weapons use,” criticized by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson as just a political tool under the Obama administration, is facing strong opposition in Syria, according to Reuters. The first meeting of the international chemical weapons team was held in New York.

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